×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Air Force Sets First Post In Ambitious Space Fence Project

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the making-good-neighbors dept.

NASA 65

coondoggie writes "The US Air Force this week said it will base the first Space Fence radar post on Kwajalein Island in the Republic of the Marshall Islands with the site planned to be operational by 2017. The Space Fence is part of the Department of Defense's effort to better track and detect space objects which can consist of thousands of pieces of space debris as well as commercial and military satellite parts."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

65 comments

Also... (5, Funny)

outsider007 (115534) | about a year and a half ago | (#41474883)

It will keep out the Space Mexicans.

Re:Also... (-1, Troll)

tudza (842161) | about a year and a half ago | (#41474923)

If you mod me down now, I shall become more powerful that you can possibly imagine.

Re:Also... (4, Funny)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | about a year and a half ago | (#41474999)

It will keep out the Space Mexicans.

Well it will keep out the masses, but we'll let a few through to clean our pools.

Re:Also... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41475109)

It will keep out the Space Mexicans.

*Insert Obligatory Futurama-Reference about those pesky Space-Aliens.*

Re:Also... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41475219)

And it will devide West and East-Space

Re:Also... (2)

siddesu (698447) | about a year and a half ago | (#41475259)

Aww, come on, we know this is just a lame excuse for HAARP 2.0. The global warming did not warm itself, you know.

Re:Also... (4, Funny)

Noughmad (1044096) | about a year and a half ago | (#41475415)

This was a funny post, but I believe you just wasted the chance of making the first relevant "First Post" in Slashdot history.

Re:Also... (1, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#41477201)

I believe you just wasted the chance of making the first relevant "First Post" in Slashdot history.

Funny, but false. I've made relevant FPs and had them modded +5 insightful before, and I'm not the only one. And I try to avoid FPs because just being FP can get your comment modded so low that making it was a waste of time, no matter how good a comment it is. If you want to be seen, be the second poster and reply to the "funny" FP with something interesting.

Re:Also... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41477909)

I think he was referring to the play on words of both the first post of the fence and the first comment post of a new article.

Re:Also... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41478747)

WHOOOSH

Re:Also... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41475807)

And it will keep the space cows in orbit.

Its a space fence (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41474885)

first post, first post!

Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41474895)

Too easy

Fence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41475021)

A 'Fence' surely isn't to DETECT space objects, surely a fence is to keep them out? What will the USAF do when they detect them? Declare them enemy combatants and arrest any journalists who reports on them?

Fence my ass.

Re:Fence? (2)

srussia (884021) | about a year and a half ago | (#41475211)

A 'Fence' surely isn't to DETECT space objects, surely a fence is to keep them out?

No, no, you misunderstand. It will be used to SELL stolen space junk!

Predictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41475101)

USAF officers proposing this, on retirement, will take up consulting positions with corps supplying the equipment.

Fallen Angel (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41475249)

MALE OFFICER #1: Sir? Sorry to disturb you sir. But we just picked up an unidentified bogey. I think you should see the replay for yourself.
(both officer and chief walk toward info area)

MALE OFFICER #1: It tripped the fence at 23-17 off the coast of Conneticut, sir.

CAPTAIN KORETZ: Initial trajectory was north by northwest. Then it started going crazy.

COLONEL CALVIN HENDERSON: What about other craft in the area...missle testing?

CAPTAIN KORETZ: Sir. No known aircraft can maneuver like this.

MALE OFFICER #1: Well, whatever it was dropped of the screen at 24-18 sir. Hit ground just west of Lake Michigan outside Townsend Wisconsin.

CAPTAIN KORETZ: The tracking and impact team predicted impact calculated at over 800 miles an hour.

MALE OFFICER #1: I've instructed Cheif Koretz to to start her report right away...

COLONEL CALVIN HENDERSON: Negative. What she tracked was a meteor. Its abberant movement was obviously due to instrument malfunction.

CAPTAIN KORETZ: But sir...

COLONEL CALVIN HENDERSON: Your report will reflect these facts. Is that clear?

MALE OFFICER #1: Yes sir.

COLONEL CALVIN HENDERSON: Good.
(Colonel exits, walks to deserted corner. Dials cell phone)

COLONEL CALVIN HENDERSON: Code indigo delta echo niner. I have a confirmed fallen angel in sector 87.
Mobilize Operation Falcon Immediately.

What are the military applications? (1)

FhnuZoag (875558) | about a year and a half ago | (#41475291)

Space Fence, eh....

I'm a little bit suspicious. What else can this site track? Will the US be sharing its data with everyone, or will there be many convenient holes in coverage?

Re:What are the military applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41475461)

Why on earth would the US be expected to share data gathered by this with "everyone"? Is "everyone" planning on chipping in to cover the tab, or has "everyone" just become so accustomed to the US spending enormous amounts of money to improve the world that it is now expected?

Re:What are the military applications? (3, Insightful)

FhnuZoag (875558) | about a year and a half ago | (#41475541)

Because Kessler Syndrome. Space debris collisions create more space debris, which in the long term will cause problems for the use of space with everyone. Ideally these things should be dealt with internationally - it doesn't really make sense to have every nation look after their own satellites, and it'd lead to much wasteful duplication of effort.

Re:What are the military applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41475549)

Again: is "everyone" going to chip in to cover the tab, or does "everyone" just expect the US will foot the bill alone? I wholeheartedly agree that an international solution would be best, but an international solution also includes international funding.

Re:What are the military applications? (2)

FhnuZoag (875558) | about a year and a half ago | (#41475569)

The ideal solution would certainly be that everyone would chip in, since it's in everyone's interests. If the US is determined to go it alone anyway and build this thing, though, a far sighted strategist should realise that *even if* no one else offers to pay, it serves long term US interests to actually share this data with as many countries at possible. And maybe such a move would create goodwill and help dispel suspicion, and encourage global support (and funding) for future maintenance of the project.

Re:What are the military applications? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41475723)

So, just to be clear: the best reason for sharing this information with everyone is that maybe they will be grateful and help pay for maintenance? Why on earth would we expect that to work when we've already shown we'll happily pay for it ourselves and share the information? More to the point, why is it better than selling the information at a price that is (slightly) lower than what a country would have to spend to set up and maintain their own equivalent system, which would guarantee funding?

Re:What are the military applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41476269)

The reason for sharing this information is that without this information other nations' space programs are more likely to have space collisions which will result in more space junk that will make things harder for us.

Re:What are the military applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41478029)

No that logic doesn't follow at all. How many times has rocket collided with a piece of space debris? Exactly, and it isn't about to happen anytime soon just because the US isn't going to give extra data nobody even had before. Any space program worth its salt is perfectly capable of avoiding debris and has been doing so since inception (since, you know, not blowing up is kind of important to a space program).

Re:What are the military applications? (1)

FhnuZoag (875558) | about a year and a half ago | (#41487907)

Your attitude is incredibly ignorant and short sighted. Look at this graph.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/media/multimedia/0212-spacejunk/img/chart-historical-debris-growth.jpg [scientificamerican.com]

Then tell me space debris will not become a problem.

And yes, collisions have happened.

http://www.space.com/5542-satellite-destroyed-space-collision.html [space.com]

More will happen, if people don't come together and deal with it.

Re:What are the military applications? (1)

shiftless (410350) | about a year and a half ago | (#41482503)

The reason for sharing this information is that without this information other nations' space programs are more likely to have space collisions which will result in more space junk that will make things harder for us.

And harder for the other nations, too. But not so hard for us since we have a radar that can track space junk. Right?

Re:What are the military applications? (1)

FhnuZoag (875558) | about a year and a half ago | (#41487925)

Secondary debris from collisions are smaller and more difficult to track.

Re:What are the military applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41484371)

they could outsource it to PBS, it's the same business model

Re:What are the military applications? (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about a year and a half ago | (#41484855)

You act like no other countries are going to do this on their own. In fact, they already are doing it [wikipedia.org] and have been for some time. And they know the value of sharing what they find, just like the USA does. Knowledge shared is knowledge improved.

That's obvious (2)

captainpanic (1173915) | about a year and a half ago | (#41475489)

Applications are:
1. Track other spy satellites, of the Russians, Indians, Chinese. In the future, I guess that these countries will have hundreds of those - many quite small.

2. Avoid collisions of their own satellites. The US also has hundreds of satellites in orbit.

3. Avoid collisions of other (commercial?) satellites, thereby protecting US economic interests.

In this particular case, I don't care whether they share. Even if they don't share, I am not particularly worried. What flies overhead shouldn't be hidden anyway. Anyone who feels like monitoring that can go ahead. Would be nice if they share the data, but I understand if they don't.

Re:What are the military applications? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year and a half ago | (#41477749)

Well, it can probably track in-flight ICBMs, but that's all I can think of (and those aren't exactly new).

Re:What are the military applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41482973)

Actually the old fence doesn't do much for ICBMS as they don't orbit and would only penetrate the "fence" once. We have satellites for that mission.

Re:What are the military applications? (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about a year and a half ago | (#41479421)

Space Fence, eh....

I'm a little bit suspicious. What else can this site track? Will the US be sharing its data with everyone, or will there be many convenient holes in coverage?

Obviously they're going to track every object of concern that they can. The project makes no sense otherwise.

My guess is that the information will be redacted before it is shared, to remove anything that is strategically sensitive. That includes, for example, information about spy satellites, whether they're "ours" or "theirs."

As for whether this project is intended to track stuff for strategic gain, I'd be surprised if that didn't happen, but I'm not sure that's its primary purpose.

Re:What are the military applications? (1)

White Yeti (927387) | about a year and a half ago | (#41480249)

This is the best reply I've read here. I think that back when they built the current system (article says 1961) the military wanted to know where everything was so they could identify the military threats. (You also don't want to launch your counter-strike when that Russian rocket booster burns up over Alaska.) That's still the case, but the use for collision avoidance is becoming more important now. The data go into real-time calculations and also into long-term environmental [nasa.gov] models [nasa.gov] .

The data (sure...minus classified) are already available [space-track.org] to the public, with the caveat that these are averaged/low-res data not suitable for collision avoidance.

Re:What are the military applications? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year and a half ago | (#41479823)

Didn't you read the title? The whole thing is there to get first post. Therefore it obviously tracks Slashdot stories.

Re:What are the military applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41482953)

We currently have a "Fence" that extends across the southern US. It is an electronic curtain that can detect whenever an object in space passes through the curtain. It tracks objects only by keeping track of when the object penetrates the curtain on each orbit. That "Fence" was constructed in 1961 by the Navy as a reaction to the Soviet launches. The parts are very old and hard to obtain today. The USAF has been trying to shut it down for several years but it provides too much data that lots of people, civilian and government, rely on. Sounds like the USAF has finally decided to build a new one and in the usual USAF tradition make it "bigger and better". AKA lots of money for Lockheed.

Space Fence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41475357)

Space Fence v. - To fence in space.
 

So, they're either going to have astronaut duels, or sell stolen space junk?

5 Years?! (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about a year and a half ago | (#41475457)

Son of a bitch. Anywhere but government would I be laughed at with such a proposal. "5 years before yielding any results" would normally require a "fuck off" by normal people.

Re:5 Years?! (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year and a half ago | (#41476621)

Thanks for providing a fine example of the short-term thinking that's endemic to the private sector. This is exactly why governments can, and do, accomplish useful things that the private sector can't. Or do you really believe that everything important can be done in less than five years?

Re:5 Years?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41480375)

The funny thing is 5 years is overly optimistic. I have worked on space related projects for the government for years. They are almost always over budget and over schedule. A general rule of thumb is to double both the time and money to get the real answer.

First... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41475537)

You just wanted to get the words "First Post" in there, didn't you?

"Space Fence" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41475599)

This is obviously a ground tracking station for satellites. What the location should tell you is WHOSE satellites they're interested in tracking: China's. Marshall islands probably have LOS to China's geostationary sats.

Re:"Space Fence" (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year and a half ago | (#41479877)

I've got news to you: The satellites of a country don't generally stay above that country. With the exception of geostationary satellites, of course, but those are the least interesting to track.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41475951)

Get off my lawn!

Damn punk martian teenagers.

First Post? (1)

Fished (574624) | about a year and a half ago | (#41475977)

Am I the only one who, upon reading the words "first post", thought this article had something to do with Natalie Portman, hot grits, and somebody's pants?

A space fence? (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#41477077)

Someone who would buy and sell stolen moon rocks, and pieces of crashed satellites

But I did think of another idea.

If you wanted to build a space fence, you would need a very high fence post, going up to 50,000 miles or so. (well it could be shorted but it would have to have a counterweight at the top, so that the center of mass is at 25,000 miles, and it would orbit above a spot on the equator without needing any fuel to keep it there.
You could also call it a 'Clarke Tower' after the guy who wrote about it.

(NASA could never get funding to build a space elevator, but maybe the Air Force Space Command could get funding for a Space Fence

This is actually an upgrade to an existing system (2)

toejam13 (958243) | about a year and a half ago | (#41479027)

The USAF already has a system for detecting objects orbiting the planet called SPASUR. It operates on the VHF band just above the North American slot for TV channel 13.

The new "space fence" will operate on the S band, which is a microwave frequency. The idea is that the shorter wavelength will allow ground radar to detect smaller debris than could be detected with the longer wavelength SPASUR system.

Re:This is actually an upgrade to an existing syst (1)

DECula (6113) | about a year and a half ago | (#41482271)

    The current system has a transmitter near Wichita Falls, TX and some folks in New Mexico have a
    receiver you can listen to online that provides a tone when something reflects the signal.
    Works good during meteor showers.
    Take a listen at:

http://spaceweatherradio.com/

Air force advantages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41485969)

There are so many advantages of air force in the country

Re:Air force advantages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41485983)

I agreed

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...